In this post, we were invited to an exclusive media preview to celebrate and taste the arrival of The Glenturret Scotch Whisky collection to Fairmont Vancouver and Notch8 restaurant.
The Glenturret is Scotland’s oldest working distillery specializing in small batch artisan whisky. And Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is the first hotel, restaurant & bar establishment in British Columbia to be pouring their extraordinary spirits. The only other place to get in it Canada would be Fairmont Banff Springs.
We would get to learn more about each of their four offerings during an intimate tasting hosted by their international representative, flown in from Scotland.
The entire affair was held within Fairmont Vancouver’s Lieutenant Governor’s Suite on the 14th floor. This is part of their heritage suite collection, newly restored. We would all be seated specifically in the living room area, but guests were able to explore and enjoy the entire suite with its art deco influences and English black walnut paneling for the duration of our visit.
The master bedroom featured a canopy bed outfitted in polished brass. A striking contrast against the velveteen black carpeting and the darker wood tones.
Past this is a kitchen with plenty of cupboard and counter space, a sink, microwave, and mini fridge. The latter, empty and separate from the fully stocked mini bar, hidden behind the black and gold lacquered cupboard in the master bedroom. This was equipped with all the accoutrements you would need to pour and mix a beer, wine, or spirit.
The spacious marble spa bathroom had the same regal black and gold motif.
Double sinks, dual shower heads in a large walk in rainfall shower with seating.
For those who like to soak, a two person, free-standing tub.
Fairmont Gold services, private check-in, and Fairmont Gold Lounge access is included for those who reserve this suite. With option for an additional guest room add-on that connects to the parlour with its own a two-bedroom suite.
But I digress, the star of the afternoon and the reason why we were here was to discuss whiskey.
As we settled in, small bites were brought out courtesy of Fairmont Vancouver’s lobby restaurant Notch8.
The Beef tartare was fresh and peppery, delicately scooped out on to a crunchy crostini.
The Smoked salmon and creme fresh over a roasted potato was an enticing bite. The potato base offered a nice take on the usual cracker option, for a heartier morsel.
The Black squid ink buns with balsamic pork belly, and caramelized onion strings matched the decor wonderfully. And I especially enjoyed their salty and sweet balance with a caramelized sugary crunch coating each slab of pork.
The skewer of fried crispy chicken topped with raw onions and caviar was the combination we didn’t know we needed. Amazing.
And lastly, the Compressed salted watermelon was so simple, yet so delicious. Picking at it throughout our stay, I am sure I had a platter to myself.
When time, guests were invited to take a seat in one of the parlour’s velvet chaise loungers, and our tasting begin with an introduction.
The exclusivity of this spirit is out of necessity. Once again The Glenturret is the oldest distillery in Scotland, dating as far back as 1773 (with the second oldest at 1783), but they are not the smallest. They produce about 200,000 litres in a year, which means only 120 bottles make it to market, and they are limited to only releasing in 12 markets globally. Having said that they currently have 7 whiskeys in market this year and are planning on having 8 the next.
They pride themselves in the workmanship of their products from the speciality glass bottles that were redesigned in 2020, to the whiskey that goes into it. We would learn about their Master Whiskey Maker Bob and how he has driven them to being a liquid-led brand. Bob alerts the team when the whiskey is ready and how much of it goes ti market, constantly focusing on their cask programs and high standards. For example, all their scotch whiskey colouring is derived naturally from the casks.
The tasting portion began with the The Glenturret, Triple Wood, non-aged statement. It is Sherry seasoned in European oak, American oak, and bourbon cask. The result, a warm 45% ABV spirit with caramelized apple tart and European spice, plus a hint of sweetness from the American oak. We got baked and candied flavours with a tropical fragrance. The Triple Wood is an approachable and easy drinking introduction to their brand. Great in an old fashion, but not recommend, as it is best to enjoy it as is.
Next we tried a Peated whiskey like no other. The The Glenturret 10 Year Peat Smoked is ideal for anyone’s who doesn’t like a Peated whiskey, as it tastes far removed from it. This was herbaceous and more smoked than Peated. More campfire or bog fire and less medicinal. A warming essence that doesn’t linger, with American oak sweetness, sherry from the cask, and citrus. It is 50% more sweeter than you would expect.
The room’s favourite was The Glenturret 12 Year, for assessability and price point at around $130-$140 CAD a bottle. Exclusively aged in European and American oak. Here, the aging process is paramount, where the whiskey was nurtured every step of the way. The result, honestly the smoothest whiskey I have had to date. And as per our host, this was the distillery’s “Pound per pound favourite age statement” at 63% ABV. You get roasted dark fruit that is not as peppery, thanks to the sherry. More like macerated fruit or plump raisin.
And the one the room was waiting for was last, and the build up worth it. This was their 30 Year single cask, with only 185 bottles coming out next year. Worth mentioning is that this is not their oldest age statement. The 50 Year old was released last year as their oldest expression to date. With this you can really see how “Everything is by hand and heart” and how the “whiskey maker prides himself on his craft.
Aged in American oak hog’s head, this has the same sherry cask profile as the 12 Year, but has mellowed out more with age. The bottle we were enjoying was one out of 750. The spirit is more woody and gingery with a less creamy finish. So well balanced and incredibly smooth, you didn’t get a strong heat or sharp burn, just raisin, similar to a sweet and refined Port on the nose. Neutral golden fruit with a candied, syrupy confectionary on the palate. Naturally, this is the vintage to try, but for all those who cannot afford it, the 12 Year is a good statement to enjoy in its stead.
On the date of this tasting (November 8th, 2023), the hotel property just received their stock, having had it travel with our informative rep. As of November 16th, it is finally available for purchase by the ounce at Notch8. And we went to be one of the firsts to order it on November 18th.
Notch8 is the only establishment in British Columbia to carry this unique selection of Glenturret Highland Single Malts, all expertly crafted at Scotland’s oldest working distillery.
We indulged on the Triple Wood for $16 an ounce, the 10 Year Peat Smoked for $18, and the $20 for the 12 Year old. As the core line the three are approachable, and designed to be affordable. Sadly, we had to draw the line at the exclusive $30 Year at $212 an ounce.
Check them out before they sell out. I promise this will be a spirit you remember.
Notch8 Restaurant & Bar
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
900 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2W6